Winterizing Your Swimming Pool 101
After a summer of fun, you should think about winterizing your pool. These steps are critical for keeping the pool stable and safe throughout its lifespan. While pool owners in Texas don't have to worry about snow, you should provide your pool with proper protection from lower temperatures and maintain it during the off season. Let's take a look at the basics of winterizing your pool.
The Importance of Winterizing Your Pool
With all of those household chores for the season, you might want to put off winterizing your pool. However, these tasks are essential to avoid a wide range of problems.
Why Winterize Your Pool?
Here are 7 reasons why:
- Without winterizing, your pool is susceptible to structure damage, especially if it is an outdoor one. When the temperatures drop, the water can expand, creating excess pressure in the pool. As a result, the pressure can crack the pool's walls and other surfaces, which are difficult to repair.
- If your water level is low, then you don't have to worry about this issue. For those who allow water to remain in the pool, take a few steps to winterize for the cold season.
- Preventing costly pool damage is the primary purpose behind winterizing your pool. No one wants to deal with a burst pipe, especially a pool owner.
- As you already know, water expands as it freezes, leading to damaged lines. In many cases, the water will break these pipes. When a pipe breaks in your pool system, it can be challenging to track down.
- You could spend many hours searching for the source of the problem. Plus, if you need to call a professional to your home, count on a costly repair.
- Throughout the year, you maintain the ideal chemistry for the pool. You lose all that hard work by not winterizing it. Those cool temperatures make a big impact on the chemistry of the pool.
- Freezing temperatures stop bacteria and algae growth. But an improperly winterized pool creates a chemical imbalance in the water, causing problems when it is time to reopen it.
While these scenarios sound scary, you can prevent these problems by winterizing the pool.
The Best Time to Winterize Your Pool in Texas
When is the time to winterize a pool in Texas? You want to do that before the temperatures start to drop for the season. We suggest starting your winterization procedures around September, but no later than October or November, depending on the average temperatures for your area.
Many individuals wait until the daily temperatures reach 65 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to close the pool. Once the swimming season is done, you can begin to winterize.
While no one can predict the exact time of the first cold snap, you should plan on winterizing in mid-to-late fall. Leaves dropping from the trees should be your first indication to start this process.
In the event of an unexpected dip in temperature, think about running your pool pump to allow the water to keep moving. The pump can stop the water from freezing in your pipes and pools in many cases.
If you are expecting frigid temperatures, it could be time for other measures, such as adding antifreeze to your line. However, don't delay the winterizing process. The longer you wait to winterize the pool, the more potential you have for damages.
Steps To Winterizing a Pool
Now that you know the reasoning behind winterizing a pool, it is time to take those steps to protect it.
When you are ready to reopen it for the year, winterizing can help make that process a little smoother. Let's look at the proper steps to winterize a pool for the season.
#1 - Test the Water
If you want to winterize your pool, test the water. You can use an at-home test kit or testing strips. From those results, you can decide whether you should balance the water.
Properly balanced water can protect your pool from damage in the winter. Many kits initially balance the alkalinity, followed by the pH and hardness of the water. These are the ideal levels for your pool:
- Alkalinity should be around 80 to 150 ppm. An alkalinity increase helps to boost those numbers for your pool.
- An ideal pH level reads around 7.2 to 7.6. You can adjust the level with a pH reducer or increaser.
- The total hardness of a pool must read between 175 to 275 ppm. Increase low hardness levels with a formulated solution.
#2 - Clean the Pool and Filter
This step might be a no-brainer, but you need to clean the pool before winterizing it. Cleaning is an essential part of pool maintenance, and you should never skip it for any reason.
Take the pool and remove any floating debris from the water's surface. You can use a pool vacuum to remove dirt from the floor.
Along with that, empty the skimmers' baskets to remove leaves and other debris. Finally, backwash the filter and clean out all filter components with a designated filter cleaner.
#3 - Shock the Pool
This process might sound a little scary, but it is pretty simple. With pool shocking, you will add a quick and high dose of chemicals to the pool's water. Those chemicals destroy any remaining algae, bacteria, or other types of waste in the water.
Many pool owners use a shock treatment after heavy rain, but it is a great way to get your pool ready for winter. If you live in a slightly mild climate, consider shocking it in the mid-winter.
Before you shock your pool, make sure to follow all of the manufacturer's guidelines to increase the chlorine and remove contaminants from the pool. Choose a high-quality pool shock that will not increase the pH or hardness levels of your water.
Along with that, these chemicals can prevent scaling on the pool's surface. During this process, continuously circulate the water for four hours to fully disperse in the pool.
#4 - Run the Pump To Prevent Algae Buildup
Algae lives in the soil. When the winds pick up dirt, those algae spores make their way into the pool's water. If you don't treat algae, the spores can form a colony.
As you winterize, you want to add a dose of algaecide to prevent algae from developing in the winter.
Remember that some formulas can stain the surface of your pool, so read the instructions before adding to the water. With algaecide, run the pool pump for 24 hours to allow it to circulate through the system.
#5 - Winterize All the Pool Equipment
Winterize your pool equipment and store them for the season. If you leave these components in the pool, it increases the chances of damage.
During the winterizing process, you want to follow all of the manufacturer's directions. You should partially drain your pool to just below the return lines. After that, remove all the drain plugs to remove the chlorinator and pool pump.
Take all of those components inside for the season.
Sand filters need the multiple values set to winterize. If your model does not have this setting, place it between two positions and remove the plug, allowing the filter to drain.
Drain cartridge filters and rinse them off with a hose, and then you can store them inside.
Finally, always drain a diatomaceous earth filter. After that, clean the fingers and reassemble the filter.
#6 - Cover the Pool
You might want to skip the pool cover, but it will keep your pool protected in the winter. Choose a cover that is the perfect fit for your pool size.
Always have your pool measurements on hand to find the right option. The cover should be made with durable materials.
When it comes time to fit the cover, you must first plug the pool. Remove the eyeball fit on the return line and close with a rubber plug.
Drain the pool about six inches below the skimmer line and apply the skimmer cover. Inflate the air pillow and place it in the middle.
Next, put on the main cover and secure it with clips. At this time, you can remove the deck equipment, such as the ladder.
This is now the time to store away any unused pool chemicals for the winter. You should throw older chemicals away so you can purchase fresh ones in the spring.
Winterize Your Pool With Help from Outback Pools & Spas
Outback Pools & Spas can help you find all of these essentials for winterizing your pool. If you need help with your pool, our team is there for maintenance and repair services. In addition to that, it is never too early to think about a new pool for your backyard or a few accessories for your existing one. Contact us today to learn about our specialty services for your pool.